By Diane Smith | Staff Writer
They've got spirit! Yes, they do!
Even though the Northeast Ohio Medical University doesn't have a sports team, that's not stopping the renamed institution from coming up with a mascot to represent the Rootstown campus.
NEOMED has launched a contest on its website, asking students, faculty, staff and the public to weigh in on what mascot would best represent the university.
NEOMED spokeswoman Christine Boyd said she believes the Rootstown medical college would be the first school in the nation to have a mascot without a sports team. Organized sports still aren't in NEOMED's future, she said.
"When you look at a mascot, it's hard not to smile," she said. "It's hard not to feel good."
The mascot will be used in advertising and in products such as stuffed animals and clothing. The mascot may also make an appearance to represent NEOMED at community and alumni events.
The mascot is expected to make its first appearance in spring 2013 to celebrate the university's 40th anniversary celebration, the unveiling of the campus expansion, which includes housing, a health and wellness center and medical office buildings.
Spokeswoman Heather Bing said so far, there have been about 150 entries representing "a little bit of everything." Some suggest symbols representing the medical field, such as a stethescope or pill bottle. Others suggest animals ranging from a cuddly bear to more scary animals, such as a snake.
Submissions are being accepted at www.neomed.edu/mascot through Nov. 15. A committee will consider the top submissions, and may present them to students to vote on the top choices before a final decision is made, Bing said.
"NEOMED may be one of the only public universities in the nation without athletics, but that certainly doesn't mean we're without enthusiasm, camaraderie and spirit," said NEOMED President Jay A. Gershen. "We focus on scientific and medical research, training the nation's future physicians, pharmacists and health researchers, and improving the quality of health care in our communities -- and we feel all of those initiatives can be symbolized in an official University mascot that encompasses our history and represents where we're headed in the future."
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